Hot Eats: Fond
A seasoned chef and her farm-to-fork fresh creations make this Edwardsville restaurant an idyllic destination for dinner.
A restaurant like Fond makes being a restaurant editor a little more interesting. Located in a college town almost 30 minutes outside of St. Louis, Fond is a true find; unexpected and charming with the quality of food that you’d find served in a major city. And while I’m guilty, on occasion, of keeping my dining travels a little too close to the city, Fond is one spot for which I’d happily rack up the mileage.
Common replies from those with whom I’ve shared my Fond excursion have almost all been about the chef; her background, her talent and her passion. Chef, owner and Edwardsville native Amy Zupanci trained at the respected CIA in Hyde Park and spent the first years of her career honing her skills in top New York restaurants including Savoy, before returning to the Midwest and working with Gerard Craft at Niche. Fans of Niche’s simple, seasonal and fresh American fare will take instantly to Zupanci’s ever-changing French-influenced menu and will love her ingredient-driven approach to cuisine.
Zupanci’s restrained cooking style allows ingredients to sing, not shout, their own song, and it shows in dishes like grilled tuna with a citrus emulsion that plays lightly on the delicate fish but doesn’t overpower it. It is served with caramelized fennel and fingerling potatoes. On one visit, the sea scallop, just one, arrived slightly crispy on one side and served on roasted carrots seasoned with cumin and coriander. A charmoula broth finished the dish and added to the Moroccan influence. One evening, my beet and goat cheese napoleon earned a bite from my sister—who typically has a distaste for the root vegetable. The goat cheese was creamy and perfectly chilled under a hazelnut vinaigrette. I followed this with the halibut entre?e, a nice-sized cut of the delicate white fish served over spaghetti squash and fingerling potatoes, but had trouble finishing it while stealing forkfuls from her bowl of gnocchi. The gnocchi was perfectly cooked, soft centered with a firm edge, and served with stewed beef and spinach. The dish was served with melted leeks and a touch of parmesan. Pork loin with a bacon cream and a vegetable risotto balance out Zupanci’s delicious menu.
Know Before You Go:
Reservations are recommended.
Top dish: Steak Tartare, prepared with chive, shallot, capers and charred scallion mayonnaise
Spirit Award: Sweet Tea vodka cocktail
Best Place to Perch: At a table that borders the comfy banquette.
106 North Main St.
Edwardsville, IL 618.656.9001
Entrees: $23-$27 Hours: Dinner Tues.-Sun. and Brunch Sun.
Photo credit: Photos by Jennifer Silverberg